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3 Jan, 2019 12:55

'Magnitogorsk, you are in my heart': NHL star Malkin pays touching tribute after hometown tragedy

'Magnitogorsk, you are in my heart': NHL star Malkin pays touching tribute after hometown tragedy

Russian ice hockey star Evgeni Malkin, who plays for the Pittsburgh Penguins in the NHL, has sent a message of support to his hometown following a New Year's Eve apartment explosion in which dozens of people lost their lives.

Prior to the Penguins' game with the New York Rangers on Wednesday, Malkin revealed his skates bore messages in Russian which translated as "Magnitogorsk, we are with you" and "Magnitogorsk, you are in my heart" following the explosion in which dozens of people died after a suspected gas leak.

READ MORE: 31 bodies pulled from debris of building partially destroyed by house blast in Russia

Malkin, 32, scored a goal and an assist in a 7-2 victory for his team and, speaking after the game, said that he hoped he could find the scoresheet to honor the victims of the tragedy. 

"I want to say we support you," Malkin said.

"We’re here. We’re together. Always in my heart, it’s my hometown. It’s the No. 1 city for me, for my family. I’m glad to be born in this town. I know there’s great people in this town. Something bad happens sometimes. We’ll try to help the families. Just be strong."

READ MORE: Baby rescued after over 24 hours under rubble of Magnitogorsk house blast (VIDEO)

Malkin added that he had wanted to wear a black armband in honor of those who lost their lives, but that the NHL informed him it would have contravened the rules on players making individual tributes on their jerseys, according to Sport Express

Malkin also stated that he and the Penguins organization are committed to helping raise funds to support the victims and the rebuilding efforts.